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Creating a Narrative Budget in Your Church Stewardship Commission of the ECC.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating a Narrative Budget in Your Church Stewardship Commission of the ECC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating a Narrative Budget in Your Church Stewardship Commission of the ECC

2 What is a Narrative Budget? It is the sacred story of the ministry of your church One of the most important ways we can affect on-going stewardship education A tool to expand the budgeting process by telling the stories of our ministries and showing where our donations were used

3 Narrative Budgeting… Donors don’t give money TO the church… …they give THROUGH the church to touch the lives of other people People give generously when they feel their money is having an impact

4 Sacred story… Much of Scripture is the sacred story of God’s care for the people of God. ie. Exodus 16 and Manna from heaven. Just as individuals have sacred stories of God’s providential care for them… …a narrative budget is the sacred story of your church’s ministry and how we are giving through their church to touch the lives of other people

5 We have a theological starting point… …and that starting point is that we are NOT a secular institution. Our faith calls us to view the deployment of money much differently than secular institutions

6 Together, …we can begin to view money from the perspective of a faith community rather than a secular perspective This has a serious implication…

7 We need a whole new way of thinking about the line item budget in the local church!!

8 A new way of thinking Line item budgets are an accounting tool Narrative budgets are an educational and visioning tool We need both but we must be more intentional in how we use both

9 Line item budgets have limitations They do not show how money is being invested in ministry They do not show how volunteer time and talent are impacting church and community life Worst of all – they do not inspire!

10 The Narrative Budget Clearly shows how money is being invested in the various components of church life Helps donors to re-frame what the church is all about Inspires donors and helps them see their donations are really making a difference Is a proven tool for increasing financial commitment to the ministry of the church

11 The Narrative Budget Recognizes that congregations are not inspired at the prospect of funding administrative costs, postage, heat, electricity, cleaning supplies, photocopying, etc. And helps donors see their investment in the ministry of the church in a different light.

12 The Narrative Budget So how does Narrative Budgeting work?

13 Each church has several key components to its ministry… Your church’s ministry might easily be segmented into these six components: Pastoral Care Christian Education Worship Evangelism and Hospitality Outreach In-reach and Fellowship

14 All church expenditures can be assigned to one of these six areas: Pastoral Care Christian Education Worship Evangelism and Hospitality Outreach In-reach and Fellowship

15 Experience shows Six Categories seem to be Optimum This means you will have to make some decisions about what categories are right for your church. Some churches like a youth ministry category. Some have found it easiest to fit both Youth Ministry and Stewardship Education into the ‘Christian Education’ segment However, you could put Youth Ministry in the ‘Outreach’ or ‘Evangelism’ categories if that makes more sense for your church.

16 Notice what category is NOT included in a Narrative Budget Pastoral Care Christian Education Worship Evangelism and Hospitality Outreach In-reach and Fellowship Do you see the ADMINISTRATION category on this list??

17 If you use ADMINISTRATION as a category in your Narrative Budget You will be defeating the entire purpose of Narrative Budgeting!

18 A small team can put together your church’s Narrative Budget Start by getting your full time staff to diarize how they spend their time for a month. They can also review their day planners for the previous month Allocate their time among the six areas of ministry Treat that as directional for how other expenditures in the line item budget should be allocated among the six areas of ministry Some line items in your budget will be easy to allocate (Sunday school supplies to Christian education for example)

19 So after a month of diarizing by the full time staff you will have an allocation formula For example the pastor might spend 15% of his/her time on Christian Education; 10% on Outreach; 30% on Worship and Worship preparation; 10% on In-reach and Fellowship; and 15% on Evangelism and Hospitality and the remaining 20% on Pastoral Care We then take this formula and use it as a blueprint for line items that are difficult to allocate

20 Don’t get caught in a trap Many churches implementing Narrative Budgeting for the first time miss a big point – they get too caught up on delivering accuracy and don’t give themselves permission to treat the Narrative Budget as directional. Its not that we deliberately try to be inaccurate. We try to be as accurate as possible but we also recognize that, as an educational tool, helping reframe minds and getting donors to think about how their donation is used is more important than accuracy

21 Here’s what you will have when you are done with your first Narrative Budget…

22 Sample line items in a church budget…

23 …are allocated via the six categories of ministry

24 These calculations are fed into a software spreadsheet to produce the following pie chart:

25 The software also permits the budget to be expressed in percentages:

26 Or the software lets you look at individual slices of the pie…

27 The net takeaway we want donors to have is this: 14 cents of every dollar I give goes to Pastoral Care 34 cents of every dollar I give goes to Outreach etc.

28 And the good news is we have made the whole process very simple to do: By accessing the ECC web-site you can download all the Excel software already programmed so that all you have to do is fill in your own figures, and pie charts will be generated for your church You can access it through the stewardship link at

29 Time and Talent Worksheet You can also find a template for calculating and reporting volunteer hours against the five categories of ministry at the same web address and link

30 We tell the story of the individual slices of the ministry pie There is a narrative for Outreach, a narrative for Evangelism, a narrative for Pastoral Care, etc. We funnel the story from the macro story to the micro story

31 The Pastoral Care narrative might look something like this: The ministry of Pastoral Care at First Cov. involves the following services: taking of home communion to three local nursing homes each month on call at two local funeral homes and follow up with the mourners from 30 funerals in 2011 frequent visiting at three local hospitals to care for parishioners recovering from illness or surgery

32 More pastoral care ministries counseling services to couples and individuals in marital crisis care of college students in crisis due to stress- related pressures of school self help group set up to care for unemployed in the area bereaved families support group etc.

33 Then we get even more specific and tell the ministry sacred stories Kristen is a first year student in Biology at NPU. It’s her first time away from home and her family is in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. She has been having a difficult time with her classes and her grades have slipped dramatically since high school. Her mother was badly hurt in a car accident last month and Kristen is not coping well. She walked in off the street last Wednesday morning and all her pain came gushing out in the pastor’s office. She and the pastor connected and she has showed up in church the last few Sundays feeling like she has found a “family” to care for her

34 We tell the stories of the real people touched by our ministry Tell a few stories for each category of ministry Donors begin to get a better sense of the impact the ministry the church is having on peoples’ lives Experience shows they become inspired and take a much greater ownership of the many ministries of the church

35 There are many ways to get the story out Executive Board reports Church newsletter Bulletin inserts Church website Fall Stewardship mailings Narrative Budgeting pamphlets Personal contact Include in intercessory prayers

36 Use Sunday worship to tell the sacred stories Put a bulletin insert out each week for six weeks highlighting a different category of ministry Pray for that ministry Tell a specific story of a person being touched by that ministry

37 Adding Time and Talent You can do special charts that illustrate volunteer hours against the six categories of ministry Parishioners get a sense of how vital and vibrant the local church is when looked at in the context of volunteer time

38 Let’s look at one aspect of Volunteer time Sunday Morning Worship Ushers – two people X 2 hours= 4 hours Choir, Worship team, Organist– ten member X 2 hours of worship and two+ hours of practice time = 40 hours Readers, servers, counters, sides-people, 10 X 1.5 hours = 15 hours Almost 70 hours of volunteer time in one week X 44 weeks =3,080 hours of volunteer time in Sunday morning worship alone

39 In an average size church When you factor in all ministries, we estimate that 10,000 – 15,000 volunteer hours per year are accumulated That’s a significant impact on any local community!!

40 Narrative Budgeting is an Evolving Process Each year you will get better at it as you add stories and volunteer time and talent It improves with each cycle People will begin to think of the funding of the ministry of the church in a new way

41 A Word about Council Meetings We must change how we view money and ministry Long before council, you will have begun a job of education and awareness around the Narrative Budget

42 The ECC Stewardship office strongly recommends… …that you leave the line item budget in the church office at your annual member meeting. Take only the Narrative Budget to your annual meeting

43 You can still make the line item budget available …tell the left brain accountant types in the church that there are five copies of the completed line item budget available in the church office to be signed out by anyone interested. You are not compromising transparency. As a faith-based organization be determined in your desire to talk about money and ministry in a new way. Don’t vacillate and fall back on the line item budget for decision-making.

44 Make a leadership decision to leave the line item budget out of your next Annual Meeting …Then have the church council affirm the leaders’ decision. That way you can tell the church members that the church council voted in favor of talking only about the Narrative Budget at the annual meeting, and the leaders aren’t standing alone in making this decision

45 Maybe in your church… …Business meetings will no longer be viewed as the annual BUSINESS meeting of the church, but will become THE ANNUAL MISSION AND MINISTRY MEETING

46 You may actually find… …members get excited and start looking forward to your annual ‘business’ meeting!!

47 As donors are engaged by the efforts we make to show them… …their money is having an impact on the lives of people in need


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